30 August 2016

Think Tank: Sea, air, land and space updates

Image: Flickr User - DVIDSHUB
Christopher Cowan, Thulasi Wigneswaran, Elisabeth Buchan and Alexander Vipondare

Sea State

The Indian Navy was hit by a massive data leak last week after sensitive technical data about its new Scorpene class attack submarines fell into the hands of The Australian. An inside source at a subcontractor for DCNS (the French defence contractor that builds the submarines) is thought to be responsible, although the motive behind the leak remains unclear. This raises worrying questions for Chile and Malaysia, which also operate the Scorpene. Less clear are the implications for Australia, which recently awarded DCNS the rights to a $50 billion contract to build its fleet of future submarines.

In an interview with ScoutWarrior last week, retired US Navy Rear Admiral Charles Richard stated that the Navy and its industrial partners have the capacity to build two Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarines per year in the 2020s. It was previously thought that only one Virginia class could be built per year due to construction beginning on the Columbia class ballistic missile nuclear submarines around the same time. This newfound industrial capacity will go a long way to help mitigate the US Navy’s looming shortage of attack submarines in a time when the number of countries operating submarines has increased dramatically.

USA: Decatur, Spruance conduct anti-submarine warfare exercise with Japan

From U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sailors collaborate aboard USS Decatur (DDG 73), Aug. 25 (U.S. Navy/LTJG Daphne White) >>

PHILIPPINE SEA - Guided-missile destroyers USS Decatur (DDG 73) and USS Spruance (DDG 111) conducted bilateral training exercises in the Philippine Sea with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMDSF), Aug. 22-26.

The Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare Readiness Effectiveness Measuring (SHAREM) program is a series of events focused on anti-submarine warfare procedures and tactics designed to measure how effectively surface ships and aircraft can detect and track submarines. It also served as a joint exercise with JMSDF naval assets, with both countries embarking liaison officers from the other to maximize communication and understanding throughout the evolution.

"SHAREM was an exceptional opportunity to improve our anti-submarine warfare skills and work alongside our Japanese allies," said Lt. j.g. Sean Quirk, anti-submarine warfare officer, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31. "These unique exercises improve our bilateral capabilities, making us a stronger combined force to deter any adversary."

Industry: Navantia signs the Future Frigate Participant Services Contract

Navantia's SEA 5000 Frigate Design
The Commonwealth of Australia and Navantia have signed an agreement for the Risk Reduction and Design Study (RRDS) Phase for the SEA 5000 Future Frigate Program. This is part of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) being conducted by the Australian Department of Defence for the SEA5000 Future Frigate Program. The Commonwealth has also entered into similar agreements with each of Fincantieri and BAE Systems. 

Under the agreement, and for a period of approximately one year, the Commonwealth and Navantia will engage in an interactive process that will allow the Australian Department of Defence to assess the capability, risk and other matters associated with Navantia’s proposed ship design. 

This signature is related to the announcement of the Australian Prime Minister; The Hon. Malcom Turnbull, that Navantia and two other designers had been selected to participate in the RRDS stage of the CEP. 

Navantia’s participation in this program is a significant milestone for the future of Navantia in Australia as the opportunity to be a potential designer of the future frigates will be the most important naval surface shipbuilding program worldwide. This program has the potential to allow for the development of Navantia Australia’s local capabilities and its Operations and Design Centre, which will actively participate in this design phase.

News Report: Arms Race - China’s New Missile Defense System to Defend Against US, South Korea

HQ-16A Surface-to-Air Missile System (File Photo)
With ongoing tensions in the South China Sea and on the Korean peninsula, Beijing has deemed its third-generation surface-to-air missile combat-ready. 

In the latest sign of a new arms race between the United States and China, Beijing’s Air Force has announced the completion of a new missile defense system.

"Through innovation, ground-to-air defense troops are able to deal with far-range, medium-range and short-range missiles which can come in on high, medium and low altitudes," PLA Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said in a statement released on China’s Defense Ministry website, according to the International Business Times. 

"The capability of China’s air defense and anti-missile systems has greatly improved in the information age we live in. Our ground-to-air forces are now a powerful force to safeguard China’s airspace sovereignty." 

News Report: Scorpene Sub Data Leak Could be Act of Corporate War

A DCNS Scorpene class submarine (File Photo)
The leak of documents relating to the operations of the French Scorpene submarine may prove to be more damaging to India than anyone has yet let on.

New Delhi (Sputnik) – The Indian Navy has said it views the leakage of sensitive data related to its under-construction Scorpene class submarine very seriously and that it plans to take damage control measures once investigations are complete. 

“Have viewed the leak of the Scorpene data very seriously. We have asked DCNS to launch an urgent investigation. We have ourselves set up a high level committee to investigate into this. Based on the report of the committee, we will see what mitigation measures need to be taken," said Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba said in an official statement

News Report: Taiwan to Indict Three Soldiers Over Accidental Missile Launch Toward China

Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile (File Photo)
Taiwanese prosecutors are set to charge three officers implicated in the accidental launch of an anti-ship missile last month toward China, local media reported Monday.

BEIJING (Sputnik) — On July 1, a Ching Chiang class patrol ship fired the Hsiung Feng III supersonic missile in what was supposed to be a simulated launch during military drills near Taiwan’s Penghu. 

According to the Taiwanese Central News Agency, authorities determined that the missile, which had hit a fishing boat and killed one fisherman as well as injured three other crew members, was launched by accident. 

Under Taiwanese law, officers may be sentenced to a prison term for up to 10 years if found guilty.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: When Life Gives You LEMOA - Inside the Controversial US-Indian Military Agreement

As the US and India Defense Ministers prepare to sign a LEMOA treaty, which will enable the two country to use each other’s military bases, there is still a significant amount of confusion and controversy around the act. 

Manohar Parrikar, the Defense Minister of India, has left to the US to meet with US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. This meeting is expected to end with signing of LEMOA act, a treaty which will enable the two countries to use each other's military infrastructure.

Interestingly, the media coverage description of the act is highly controversial. Forbes, for instance, is quick to say that LEMOA will enable "US armed forces… operate out of Indian bases." 

"The US Navy plans to deploy 60 percent of its surface ships in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Instead of having to build facilities virtually from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has the benefit of simple arrangements for the tremendous Indian facilities," Forbes's Charles Tiefer writes. 

News Story: N. Korea submarine missiles not ready until 2018 - experts

North Korea's 1st SLBM Launch (File Photo)
North Korea is making progress on a submarine-launched ballistic missile system but any deployment of the technology is years away, a US think tank said, as the UN Security Council promised action over Pyongyang's latest test.

The US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University said late Friday on its closely-watched website, 38 North, that the success of North Korea's SLBM test this week suggests the program may be progressing faster than originally expected.

"However, this does not mean it will be ready next week, next month, or even next year", it said.

"Rather, the pace and method of the North's SLBM testing would suggest possible deployment in an initial operational capability by the second half of 2018 at the earliest."

The missile, launched from a submerged prototype "Gorae-class" submarine near the northeastern port of Sinpo, flew 500 kilometres (300 miles) towards Japan, marking what weapons analysts called a clear step forward for its nuclear strike ambitions.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: N. Korea leader says missile test 'greatest success'

North Korea's 1st SLBM Launch (File Photo)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un declared a submarine-launched missile test the "greatest success", state media said Thursday, as the UN weighed a condemnation of the launch which appears to advance Pyongyang's nuclear strike capability.

The US mainland and the Pacific are now "within the striking range" of the North's army, the official KCNA news agency reported Kim as saying after Wednesday's launch.

The missile was fired from a submarine submerged off the northeastern port of Sinpo on Wednesday, according to South Korea's military. It flew 500 kilometres (around 300 miles) towards Japan, far exceeding any previous sub-launched tests.

The UN Security Council met for two hours on Wednesday to discuss North Korea's latest provocative move and agreed to consider a statement condemning the launch.

"There was a general sense of condemnation by most members of the council and therefore we will have to see how we would then be phrasing the press statement," said Ramlan bin Ibrahim from Malaysia, which currently holds the council's presidency.

However diplomats expected further haggling with China, Pyongyang's main ally, over the wording.

Read the full story at SpaceDaily

News Story: Japan holds live fire drills at Mt Fuji

Japan's military on Thursday began four days of live-fire drills near Mount Fuji, an annual exercise that comes this year the day after North Korea test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Around 2,400 soldiers, as well as tanks, field guns and helicopters were deployed at training grounds in the foothills of the country's most famous mountain, 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Tokyo.

The drill came as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un hailed his country's latest weapons test the "greatest success".

Read the full story at SpaceDaily